If you and your boss are always at odds, it could be detrimental to your career. To set yourself up for success, check out tips from blogger Bridget Casey on how to work well with your manager.
The adage is true: People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Unfortunately, only 13 percent of people are engaged at work. The rest are struggling with unclear expectations, a lack of appreciation, and few opportunities to learn and grow. In other words, all things that could be remedied with the right relationship—with your boss. Whether you’re just looking to make the 9-to-5 grind a little easier, or you have your eye set on the next promotion, now is the best time to become friends with your supervisor.
Happy Boss, Happy Life
You will spend 40+ hours per week at work for 40+ years. With so much of your life and identity defined by your career, it’s important to make it the most positive experience possible. Curating a good relationship with your boss, no matter your situation, is essential to your overall job satisfaction and, ultimately, your success. If you enjoy going to work, you are more likely to have lower stress levels, be more motivated, and be more productive. In other words, the happier you are, the better you will perform. For these reasons, your boss has as much to gain from a positive relationship with you as you do!
Even if you plan to leave your company soon, you still need the best relationship possible with your supervisor and coworkers. You may need letters of recommendation, good references, or a great network contact later in your professional life—and all of those are easier to obtain if you were a pleasure to work with. For this reason, make sure you put effort into working with your supervisor regardless of where you are in your career or how important the job is to you. Every step on the career ladder is easier with a leg up!
Interview Your Potential Boss
Many young 20- and 30-somethings are so focused on building their careers, they look at job titles and salaries before they consider workplace culture. But who you work for and what their expectations are is as important as what you’ll be paid. When looking for a new job, remember that the interview process goes both ways: Just as your interviewer is evaluating you as an appropriate candidate, you should be evaluating them as a suitable supervisor.
Pay attention to their facial expressions and mood. Do they seem open and easy to communicate with, or quiet and reserved? Ask them directly about the structure of performance reviews or the hierarchy of the company. Only you know which personalities and structures help you excel, so when choosing job offers, don’t forget to take the supervisor into account. A great boss can become a great mentor, so it’s worthwhile to make the right pick.
Learn to Work with Your Boss
First things first: Figure out your boss’s communication style and learn how to communicate effectively with them.
Tailor your communication style to meet theirs. Does your boss respond best when you talk in person or over email? Do they check in regularly when you are completing a big project, or simply evaluate you at the end? What response do they give you for a job well done?
If you’re unhappy or feel misunderstood, it’s important to speak up and give your boss a chance to work with you. Be proactive when communicating and provide alternative suggestions instead of just airing grievances. Ask them about their preferred procedures. For example, say something like “I feel like we’re not always on the same page when it comes to this project—would you prefer if I sent you a weekly progress email to keep you up to date?”
Do Your Best
Even if you don’t always get along with your boss, focus on being a great employee. Complaining, gossiping, or checking out mentally at work might feel good at the moment, but won’t serve anyone and can be damaging to your career. Take initiative, make your boss look good, and always be respectful. Your boss is human too, and even if you’ll never get along swimmingly on a personal level, try to develop a working relationship that will be mutually beneficial in the long run.
Building a good relationship with your boss is the key to a happy, healthy workplace. You may not get along with every supervisor you’ll ever have, but knowing how to work productively with anyone is an incredibly valuable professional skill to have.
Bridget Casey writes for MoneyAfterGraduation.com.
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